Document Type



6 Univ. of Iowa Journal of Gender, Race and Justice 61 (2002)


Abstract: Although Americans are arguably more committed than ever to the ideal of universal education, the drug war has effectively withdrawn this commitment from many teenagers and young adults who are most at risk. It has done so in several related ways that we explore in this article. First, the drug war has combined with public school zero-tolerance policies to remove tens of thousands of adolescents from their public schools. Second, denial of higher education has been adopted as an additional punishment for drug offenders. Under the Drug Free Student Loans Act of 1998, students who have ever been convicted of a drug offense are either temporarily or permanently ineligible for federal college loans and grants. This law has led to the withdrawal from school of tens of thousands of college students who have no alternative means of paying for their education. Third, drug offenders in prison have seen their access to higher education effectively terminated by a federal law that excludes all prisoners from Pell Grants, the federal college aid program that had engendered numerous college programs in prison. In these ways, the war on drugs has spawned a second front--a war on education. This article details the consequences of this other war, and explores some legislative and litigation strategies for reclaiming educational opportunity for all Americans.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Drugs, Drug War, Drug Offenders, Drug Free Student Loans Act of 1998, Education, Higher Education, Financial Aid